CAMBY — As the weather gets warmer, it’s prime time for the construction industry. But Jensen’s Pools and More in Camby can’t move forward with any of their projects without a permit.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in demand,” said Eric Gorman, Jensen's Pools and More general manager.
Because of COVID-19, people are staying more at home.
“They’re not going on vacations, they’re not spending money on the high-end luxury items that they typically do,” Gorman said. “So they’re putting it in their backyard.”
Businesses like swimming pool construction company Jensen’s Pools and More are busy.
“We have to submit a structural permit, a drainage permit and then improvement location permit for the city,” Gorman said.
But Eric Gorman told WRTV, they’re still waiting on permits to be approved for three different projects they applied for in January.
“They are very slow in responding and communication is nonexistent,” Gorman said.
Gorman said they’ve been unable to get in contact with someone at the Marion County Permit Office to find out what the delay is. When they call, no one answers. There is only a voice message that everyone’s working from home due to COVID.
“The other counties, five-seven days turnaround time,” he said. “Even with errors, they’re quick to respond and we can correct and get them taken care of. Marion County is typically two-three months.”
This is impacting more than just swimming pools, but any type of residential build requiring a permit, like a porch or deck, or any home additions or remodeling. Relying on the permit office’s timeliness to begin construction on the dates promised to customers, they’re now having to delay installations.
“This type of thing could cause a cancellation and for us to lose that income,” Gorman said. “And then our customer starts back from square one trying to figure it out. And our reputation is impacted because of something that we just cannot control.”
We reached out to the Marion County permit office and they told WRTV, for all three properties, they were waiting for documentation to review and issue drainage permits. They have since received it and will now complete the process.
A representative said, they are experiencing a slight backlog when it comes to residential development permits. But that’s normal during this time of year. They are down some staff, as well, but are working to fill those positions as quickly as possible, and permitting staff is working overtime to reduce the number of backlogged applications.
If someone is trying to contact the permitting staff, they ask you be patient. Responses may be delayed due to the fact they are working remotely.
Phone calls are being returned as quickly as possible. Anyone with questions about residential permits can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They also post their Permit Application Review times on their website to give residents and customers an estimate on how long it could take to receive a permit. These review times are updated weekly and can be found by visiting its website.